With the rapid and persistent growth of web marketing and eCommerce solutions, even the smallest, local business owner must endure regional, and sometimes global, business competition. With a few keywords and a couple of minutes of web research, your customers can purchase products and services from companies located in your community, or on the other side of the world.
The business benefits of eCommerce websites and internet marketing are undeniable, and today’s flexible solutions, tools, frameworks and platforms can be used for many business purposes. The competitive local and world markets of today demand that every business, large or small, engage in eCommerce and use business websites, portals, online stores and internet marketing to reach new customers and improve sales and customer retention. But, building an integrated eCommerce presence with consistent corporate branding and accessibility across smart phones, tablets and desktops is an overwhelming prospect for some businesses. But it doesn’t have to be. Creating, migrating or upgrading an eCommerce site or shopping cart doesn’t have to break the bank, nor does it have to take a year to implement and deploy.
Your IT team does not have to start from scratch to build an eCommerce solution. Vendors and solution providers like Volusion, Bigcommerce offer frameworks and solutions that can be affordably licensed and customized by skilled designers and developers to satisfy complex or simple eCommerce needs and put your company in a better competitive position. If the off the shelf frameworks do not fit the business requirements, the enterprise should consider a Bespoke – customized solution development project to comprehensively support the business needs.
In order to make the right decision about an eCommerce site, and to avoid overspending and long implementation cycles, the enterprise must consider the following requirements and factors. There are numerous other considerations, but this list of ten factors will get you started!
1. Mobile eCommerce requirements including responsive web design and/or adaptive web design
2. Framework and solution flexibility to satisfy future growth and new features and functionality
3. ERP, CRM, Tax, payment gateway, and other enterprise application integration
4. Product catalog and pricing management
5. Live chat requirements
6. Reporting and business intelligence requirements
7. Inventory, shipping and order management
8. Licensing and support issues for selected frameworks and solutions
9. Ease of use, content updates, and dependable accessibility
10. Information and personal data security
When considering the design, development, migration, upgrade and/or implementation of an eCommerce site, the enterprise must look carefully at its internal IT resources and decide whether the IT staff has the time, skills or experience to take on such a project. Here are ten factors and skill and experience considerations to ensure successful design and launch an eCommerce site:
1. Experience with, and comprehensive understanding of, multiple eCommerce frameworks and platforms
2. Experience building eCommerce solutions that are suitable for small, medium and large enterprise needs
3. Ability to build a simple or complex site and maintain and support that site over time to satisfy future requirements
4. Responsive Web Design (RWD) and Adaptive Web Design (AWD) experience, and mobile application development experience
5. Ability to build and sustain a consistent brand and corporate image across eCommerce, corporate sites and social media sites
6. The skills to integrate eCommerce with ERP, CRM, tax, order fulfillment, shipping and inventory system
7. Ability to create a seamless site (or sites) to integrate and support online sales and brick and mortar sales and marketing
8. Cross-platform development skills for all popular frameworks and tools
9. The skills to design, develop and support a site that will satisfy industry, government and regulatory guidelines and standards for security and privacy
10. Standard quality methodologies and processes to ensure success and rapid completion of every phase of design, development, configuration, integration, configuration, upgrade, training and maintenance and support
The information contained in this article will get you started on the path to successful eCommerce design, upgrade or migration. Don’t take this decision lightly. A careful review of requirements and an honest evaluation of the skills and experience required to create and sustain a successful site will ensure that your project will succeed and that the framework and solution you choose to implement will be flexible, affordable, dependable and comprehensive enough to satisfy the future needs of the enterprise and its users and customers.